Sarawak passes own anti-party hopping law to prevent elected reps from ‘party-hopping’

Sharifah Hasidah tabling the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2022 at the DUN Sitting on Nov 22, 2022.

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By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, Nov 22: The anti-party hopping law which prevents elected representatives from switching parties, was passed in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) today.

Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department (Law, MA63 and State-Federal Relations) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the Bill provides that an elected representative who is a member of a political party, shall cease to be a member of the DUN and his/her seat shall be vacant immediately if he/she resigns or ceases to be a member of that political party willingly.

The same shall also apply to an independent candidate who, having been elected to the DUN as an independent candidate subsequently joins a political party. Then, he would cease to be a member of the DUN.

However, the Bill also provides for circumstances where membership of the DUN will not be affected.

“A member of the legislative assembly (DUN) shall remain a member of the legislative assembly upon the dissolution or cancellation of the registration of his political party; his resignation from the membership of his political party upon election as a Speaker; or the expulsion of his membership of from his political party,” she said when tabling the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, 2022 in the DUN sitting here today.

Thus, the amendment Bill sought to add a new Article 16B and by deleting the existing clauses (6) and (7) of Article 17 of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak.

This amendment also provides for the insertion of the definition of the term “political party” in Article 44 (under the interpretation section) of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak.

Sharifah Hasidah also said the Bill sought to amend Article 33 of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak, to enable the august House to pass a resolution or any future resolution, which will allow for the withdrawal of monies from the State Consolidated Fund in a manner provided by or consistent with both State and Federal Law.

The tabling of the anti-party hopping bill followed the passing of the Constitution (Amendment) (No 3) Bill 2022 which amended the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution in Parliament on July 28 earlier this year.

As the amendment is in the ‘essential provision’ under the Eighth Schedule of the Federal Constitution, it is necessary for the State Constitution to have a similar provision or one having substantially the same effect and not inconsistent with the essential provision as provided under Article 71(4) of the Federal Constitution. — DayakDaily